If my car has a problem, where should I go, an independent garage or the dealership?
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One question that often comes up is the difference between serving a vehicle at a dealership verses an independent garage.
Dealership vs. Independent garage
The dealership is bigger and, because it’s usually more expensive, less in demand. It can churn jobs quickly, whereas an independent shop will prioritize emergencies, while you wait for parts. But the good ones, like dealerships, have loaner vehicles and plan service around their availability. “After the flat-rate system, rushed jobs are perhaps the greatest contributor to crappy work in our industry so we set it up so we can take our time,”
Problem: Your late-model car has an electronics gremlin.
Modern vehicles require expensive diagnostic equipment that dealerships already have. “We install software updates on every car,” Service managers say. “When you pick it up, maybe the Bluetooth works better.” Independents who focus on a particular manufacturer will be similarly outfitted, but, “General-service shops don’t cut it. You’re paying them to learn about your car.” If you can’t find a specialist in area, off to the dealer.
Problem: When you sell your car, you worry that buyers will balk at non-dealer service records.
Verdict: Lean toward the dealer. “If your car is new and under warranty,” “go to the dealer.” After that period ends, usually around 50,000 miles, go independent. It’s cheaper, and you avoid the pitch for a new car. But check if your manufacturer has an exceptional warranty policy. “Here, some dealer-installed parts have a lifetime warranty,”. “You’re not going to get that with an independent.”
Problem: Your unusual car has an esoteric mechanical issue
For example, let’s say your BMW E36 power convertible top has stopped working. Verdict: Lean toward the dealer.
Some problems are so complex and discouraging—in this case, a synchronized dance between motors, sensors, and bodywork—that an independent will know to walk away. “Good mechanics know when they are out of their league and will give you alternatives,” Prosser says. Dealers and mechanics consult with each other, so you might end up with a referral to the best expert for that particular problem. It just makes no sense to go to an independent, who does not have all of the factory servicing data, and/or the updates your vehicle may require. In addition, the dealership will check for any service bulletins that may apply and perform recalls that are currently open on your vehicle. These are all things that an independent cannot do.
Thank You all for reading, and I hope this information was helpful. Please let us know if anyone needs assistance with purchasing or selling any vehicles. Got an automotive question? Please feel free to email me at email@example.com or call (503) 930-1493.